Crystallex International Corporation (“Crystallex”) is a Canadian gold-mining company. Crystallex acquired the rights to explore gold deposits in Venezuela through a contract. To explore the mines, Crystallex completed all the permit requirements and posted a bond. The Venezuelan Ministry of Environment denied the permits based on environmental concerns.
Crystallex initiated international arbitration proceedings, alleging that the denial of the permits violated a bilateral treaty between Canada and Venezuela. The arbitration tribunal awarded Crystallex a little more than $1.2 billion in damages. Crystallex petitioned in federal district court for confirmation of the award, and Venezuela opposed and moved to vacate the award under the FAA.
The district court affirmed the award and denied the motion to vacate. Venezuela appealed. On appeal, the court affirmed the district court’s judgment. The court explained that: (1) the district court considered all of Venezuela’s FAA arguments and applied the correct standard of review drawn from FAA case law; (2) the district court did not err in applying a deferential standard to its review of the arbitral award’s method of calculating damages; and (3) the district court did not confirm the arbitral award based on misunderstandings of the arbitration tribunal’s reasoning.
Crystallex Int’l Corp. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, No. 17-7068, 2019 WL 668270 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 14, 2019)